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Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

On last week’s episode of the Messy Middle Road Trip, we talked about the clean eating trend. Most likely you’re bombarded day after day by all sorts of claims in your Facebook feed about the benefits of drinking celery juice, Whole 30, Keto, or another plan for getting healthier by changing your diet.  It can feel like a Herculean effort to ditch the fast food drive-thru or late night salty or sugary snacks. But shedding an unhealthy food addiction can change your life.

Here are the show notes from that episode.

[Nicole] Today we’re talking about the trend for clean eating you’re most likely being bombarded by all sorts of claims on your Facebook feed benefits of drinking celery juice, Whole 30 AYP or elimination diets like keto.

Completely changing your diet may seem like a foreign idea and completely unrealistic if you’re juggling a busy schedule with career kids with limited time and on a budget. Well, Janine and I have taken the plunge and we are willing to share our journey. It can feel like a Herculean effort to ditch the fast food drive-thru or late night salty or sugary snacks. But shedding an unhealthy food addiction can change your life.

Today I want to share a little bit about my autoimmune condition because it’s really my decision to really go down the clean eating path has changed my life immeasurably.

So about a year ago, actually more the fall of 2017. My husband and I did a kitchen renovation and for those of you guys that have ever survived a renovation, you know how stressful that can be. The unfortunate part is with autoimmune issues when you have a high-stress trigger like that even if you’re doing well and you’re in remission it can flare terribly. And my psoriatic arthritis came back full force.

It was probably about February or so when I was looking down the barrel of getting on another biologic injection and that scared me to death because one of the potential side effects is leukemia and I have a family history of cancer. I would much rather have psoriatic arthritis and be in pain and miserable than cancer. But I was really thinking, this is where I am. This is horrible and finally, for the first time, I took a look at a book that I had on my shelf. It literally sat there collecting dust for two years that my friend had given me. There was a little post to note in there with the year that he the date and year he gave it to me and I was horrified to realize that it had been there for two years.

It was basically an elimination diet and guidelines for how to go about doing it. Recipes for getting you through and really talking about the nuts and bolts of the why of it. I said you know what, I’m going to read this book. I literally devoured the thing in two days. No pun intended. It was so eye-opening to me because one of the chapters was all about reducing your toxic body burden and removing that load from your body with personal care and cleaning products. And I was like whoa,  I’m already doing that part so I can totally just speed read that chapter.

It made so much sense to me because of the way the author described it she really took it to a level where I felt like I was back in biology class but in a good way. Like it wasn’t over my head and I was connecting the puzzle pieces. And it wasn’t a snooze. I decided all right, I’m all in, and I’m doing this. And I told my husband he rolled his eyes at me like, oh boy here we go. And I said so you can opt to do this with me or not. I’m not going to judge you one way or the other, but if you’re with not me then I’m still doing this. So please support me, because for those of you guys who have ever tried to change your eating habits you know, if you have children or a spouse who is sabotaging, you can go off the rails.

[Janine] I think that’s for every habit that you try to quit, absolutely. You want to stop smoking or you want to stop drinking, if somebody in the house that does it, forget it.

[Nicole] I think that’s a problem. You’ll get right back on the bad habits. I decided all right. I’m doing this. I looked at my pantry and I was horrified because there was not one thing in my pantry that I could actually eat, because it contained all the stuff I was supposed to avoid. And when I tell you like it was an elimination diet, the only thing I could eat on this was non-GMO, organic proteins and seafood, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. That’s it. There were no condiments, no sugar, no caffeine, everything had to be fresh farm to table, nothing processed. And we’re a busy family. There was a ton of products in my pantry that was quick meals on the go in a box and stuff that you had to microwave. So I got away from all of that. It was a little eye-opening, because I had no food in the house that I could actually eat. 

It takes a lot of planning, you have to cook every day. There was a lot of meal planning and a lot of Sunday, so I would have it to be able to eat through the week. Breakfast was interesting because I do eggs and again veggies and fruits, but I was looking at making my own apple turkey sausage patties for breakfast with a sweet potato. And it just feels odd having seafood for breakfast.

(Janine) Eating carbs in the morning that’s an American thing. When I travel having vegetables and fish or other dinner meat for breakfast is not strange.

[Nicole] I remember heating up the fish one morning and Tim was looking at me like, I don’t know if I can do that. And it was good.

I kind of had to get over the fact that it was breakfast. So, I committed and I did this for 30 days. And Tim actually did it with me. And by week two we were hangry. It was like, get out of my way. I’m crabby and going through a detox. Like you don’t realize how much your body craves sugar and processed foods and all the carbs you’re used to eating.

I remember yelling at him and just saying if you’re hungry eat a bigger portion. Don’t yell at me. You’re a grown adult and you decided to do this with me. So go for it. But don’t take it out on me because I’m right there with you.  I was definitely hungry as well. But then once I got over that two-week hump, and I know Janine you’re going to share your story too about your whole 30 experience, but my energy levels went through the roof. I felt like I was more rested.

I definitely started to see that I was losing weight. After having two kids, I just never one hundred percent went back to my size before I had children and I embrace that. I was like OK this body did some major work with having some babies, I’m OK with that. So I wasn’t doing it for the weight loss. So that was unexpected for me when my pants started to fit properly and I could even see it in my face got thinner and you know it was noticed noticeable changes.

[Janine] Yeah, I lost five pounds almost immediately.

[Nicole] Yeah. It’s crazy. It is crazy. But, you’re flushing yourself out because you’re drinking a ton more water and I definitely thought it was part of that too for sure.

And, it was such a wonderful transformation. But I’ll tell you,  at the end of the 30 days I was able to put myself back in remission with my psoriatic arthritis. I had been suffering for months with a very bad flare for my psoriasis my scalp was on fire. It was like I had red patches that were creeping down towards my eyes, like the whole perimeter of my head and my arthritis pain was terrible. I was swollen, but after this 30-day elimination, I had mild pain. I was actually able to do yoga again. I was able to plank and hold myself in that. And it was transformational. And I’m so glad I did it. You know I’ll talk a little bit later about accountability partners, but I actually got on board and did this with one of my very good friends Jennifer. She did it alongside me.

So we encouraged each other and we complained when we needed to as you should because it gets you through sometimes with humor. You don’t want advice, you just want someone to say, yeah I hear you. And I’m not feeling these almonds and raisins snack right now.

So, Janine, you did like a whole 30, right?

[Janine] So, I was just thinking about your book and the expression when the student is ready the teacher appears. Your friend who gave you the book thought this is somebody she’ll need at some point and then just let it be.

[Nicole] Because at the time I had my psoriatic arthritis, in his brain he’s like she totally needs this. And I was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m not going to do that. It takes time.

[Janine] So it was there like a little teacher on the bookshelf waiting for you to come over. But you know what. You only can find something when you’re ready. Yeah I can tell you forever and ever and ever you need something, but until you’re ready to do it, it won’t work for sure.

[Nicole] And oftentimes we’re so stubborn that if somebody tells us it makes us dig in and not want to do it even more right.

[Janine] I think there’s shame or something to it, like I’ve been doing something wrong my whole life. You feel bad about it and then you have to have a whole mindset thing. We’ve talked about that before, but it is such a mindset thing.

So, I don’t have the same concerns that you do, at all. I was just feeling like out of sorts, a little bit bad, and plus the holidays just happened, so I just felt like kind of gross overall, and I thought I wanted to try something. I tried Whole 30 last year and it bit the dust pretty quickly. So, I didn’t it didn’t do Whole 30 exactly, it was through clean eating magazine, very similar though, and in fact, their January edition had a whole section on Whole 30. It was almost the same.

But basically, if you haven’t heard of it, it’s pretty much just no sugar, and no processed foods no preservatives, very similar to what you did. It was fruits, vegetables, protein, and good fats. That was pretty much it.  I could drink coffee but you couldn’t have dairy products. No alcohol, of course. The first week was a headache. You know I had a low-grade headache for about a week and then the second week I started to feel good. You do miss crunchy food. I mean, I know carrots are crunchy, but not the same kind of crunch or same mouthfeel as bread or whatever. But, I really felt awesome.

It had a lot to do with cleaning out all of the residues from the holidays. All the yummy, but fatty and high caloric and lots of sugar food, alcohol and all the rest of it. But my sleep was better. I just had more energy. I mean I work out a lot anyway but my workouts felt stronger and my mood was better.

You’ve read this too that when you eat the stuff like sugar and the preservatives whatever it affects your gut, and so much happens in your gut for health. One of the big buzzwords now is inflammation, but all of that junk causes you to be inflamed, which is arthritis. And then even if you don’t have an autoimmune disease, you have a bad sleep, the brain fog which is killing us all right now in midlife right. You get that high and low. I mean honestly at two o’clock every day I felt like I could put my head down on the table and take a nap.

[Nicole] I was right there with you. Oh yeah. I would be at the bus stop and my head would be bobbing and weaving. Kids are getting off the bus I look like a goober with my mouth wide open and sunglasses on. Yes, my mouth wide open. Yeah. That’s classic right.

[Janine] And then, of course, you know your excess weight. And it’s something we think about anyway in midlife because the shift in hormones causes weight gain and weight to move around your body to your gut and all that.

So anyway the bottom line, I’m glad that I did it and I’ll keep it up. So it’s six weeks since I started. Now I’ve kept up a lot of the changes to added things back and gradually. I do drink milk again. I drink that because I prefer my coffee, but I don’t drink a lot of milk. Otherwise, I had oatmeal. But really, that’s it. I haven’t any bread, I’ve really kept pretty good about doing it.Well, that’s it. So we went out to dinner. I eat a normal thing. I’m certainly not thinking that every single time I go out. But, I did say to my husband that I’m going to stick with it because I do feel so good and I’m so much more productive. And I’m just getting a lot done. So I think it’s great. Yeah, it is awesome. I did lose five pounds. That’s fantastic. Yeah.

[Nicole] Well my girlfriend who did it. She lost over 60 pounds. Wow. Yeah. And she’s doing it right along with me since March and she’s had some ups and downs but for the most part, she’s off all her medication that she was on for her condition of arthritis which is different than mine. So huge life-changing stuff. And it’s hard. There is no getting around it. It’s a commitment. Like you said, it’s a mindset.

[Janine] And it’s a lot to prepare. You have to think things through. I can’t say how many times for lunch I’d eat an apple and almond butter. Because I couldn’t be bothered to try to it figure out so I’d squeeze almond butter on a banana. Definitely takes a lot of work. It’s a commitment to do it and really have the result that you want.

[Nicole] Absolutely and my husband makes fun of me because we have gone out to dinner. But of course, I have to research the restaurant ahead of time and find out if they offer gluten free options and I can usually maneuver around. I had to stay off of a ton of stuff because I went and did nutritional response testing. And what that does, in a nutshell, it allowed me to know what I could add back into my diet what my body could actually eat and tolerate because oftentimes when you’re adding things back in especially if it’s counteracting a condition that you have, if you eat something that your body can’t tolerate then you’re going to flare in some way shape or form and you have to do it one at a time to know what the thing is that flared you. And I just like, I don’t have that kind of time. I am hungry, so I think this nutritional response testing and it really was eye-opening for me because I had to stay off of grain, all grain, including corn, which is crazy because corn is in everything and everything. Oh my gosh. So that’s been a big piece for me. I recently came off of dairy. So those are my two biggest. And then the gluten free piece.

But when I go to dinner with Tim he laughs at me and says I’m like Sally from When Harry Met Sally at the restaurant. She’s like, I would like the toast on the side no butter. I had to make all these requests. And actually, we went out to dinner last night. There was a fantastic looking dish, it was like a tomato seafood stew but it was on polenta and I couldn’t have the polenta. But then separately there was a mushroom style zucchini noodle dish that looked amazing. And so I had to ask the waiter, could you give me zoodles under this fish. And I said you can charge me more. It’s OK. And you can keep the flavor profile of the stew. He looks at me, and he is going to take my order just memorize it and go back to the kitchen, and I start talking, and he took a pad out and just started writing it all down. I said to them you know, that was the key when he took his pad out that I was giving away too much information.

It’s bad because you can look at the menu a lot of times and there’s stuff in it that you don’t know there. So look last Sunday we went out to eat, but I ordered fish or something. I felt lousy afterward. So I thought to myself, there’s probably a ton of sugar somewhere that you don’t know about. And I figured that I’m making a healthy choice.I mean you know everything is in moderation, but not this time because I haven’t had any. That was surprising. That was eye opening and something to keep in mind.

And even though you know you see written on menus now, if you have a food allergy please let your server know, but oftentimes the servers aren’t properly trained. They look at you like, what do you mean you don’t eat dairy. They don’t understand and they’re like well it’s got some butter on it but that should be OK. Right. No. So for those of us that have health concerns and health conditions that can be triggered because of food intolerances that’s a scary thing. You run the risk of somebody having anaphylactic shock. You know if they’re exposed to peanuts or something that they can’t eat. You have to be diligent about it. And I think that’s often why those of us with food issues don’t eat out normally because you’re in control in your own kitchen. And I’ve even found that I have to use different pans for cooking. For example, I cook buckwheat pasta because I can’t do the grain. But I have to cook it in a separate pan because if you’ve ever cooked regular pasta you don’t necessarily wash off all the trace amounts of gluten, especially if you’ve used them after year after year. And so just that trace amount can set me off. And I have to be cautious of that.

But I just want to talk to you guys a bit about the importance of non-GMO, organic, and gluten-free at least in my experience. This is a controversial subject, I think for a lot of people because you often hear, well if I go gluten-free then I’m going to build an intolerance to gluten and then I’m not going to be able to eat it. The problem, while there are plenty of people who can eat certain things and can keep on keeping on, but for those of us that have an intolerance, we can’t eat it. So GMO means genetically modified. That means it has a high exposure to pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate which has been linked to cancer. It’s difficult to find corn that is not GMO tainted. Almost 90 percent of the corn grown in the US goes into animal feed and biofuels while the remainder is processed down into various ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, or it’s used as the source material to make ingredients like alcohol and citric acid. So when he said I can’t eat corn and gave me like a six-page list of things that have corn in it, I almost fell off my chair. It was maple syrup, honey, citric acid and you know natural flavors things that t hide stuff in. You wouldn’t know is there, and I would be reading a label, I’m like oh I can eat this and I get to the bottom and it’s got citric acid. I’m like, oh darn it, because you just don’t stop and you think about that containing corn.

[Janine] This is a separate conversation but about the farming industry in the United States and the reason why we grow so much corn and soybeans, so a whole different conversation for a different day. But yeah we add them as fillers or whatever and it’s moving our food system in a certain way that I think is problematic.

[Nicole] It’s true because then they’re also using the corn to feed the animals that we’re eating. And so that’s why I have to be cautious with my proteins because I don’t want to be exposed through what the animal ate

[Janine] Yeah and cows aren’t meant corn. Nobody grows grass.

[Nicole] Organic food is is another big one for me because it’s the product of basically a farming system that avoids the use of manmade fertilizers pesticides growth regulators, livestock feed, and all additives. And when you look at genetically modified organisms or the GMOs or products produced from or by GMOs, it’s generally prohibited by organic legislation. So it’s tricky.

[Janine] Is it prohibited in Europe too. That’s a good question. I think it might be.

[Nicole] I think it might be. I think Europe is actually far more advanced with that we are in the States. Sometimes you will find products that are marked as non-GMO and organic and those are like great for me. Because oftentimes you’ll get one but not the other. So it could be listed as organic. But they’ll wait until it’s harvested and then they’ll douse it in some sort of preservative that is not organic and they’ll get away with it. So you really have to have your eyes wide open when you’re looking at foods especially if you’re trying to avoid pesticides and herbicides and things.

Best to buy organic strawberries because they are hands down, the dirtiest fruit on the planet. So if you’re gonna buy anything and you’re on a budget and can’t go buying all sorts of organic fruits, I’m going to tell you strawberries are the number one best thing to buy otherwise you are basically eating a red chemical. There is nothing, nothing healthy about non-organic strawberries. You notice how big and fat they are and when you cut into them they’re white on white on the inside. It’s not good. And the other thing you have to think about is seasonality of fruits, right. You shouldn’t be buying strawberries in February, because they don’t grow in February. So oftentimes if you buy things seasonally and then freeze, you can eat them through the winter or make them into preserves or whatever it is that you want to do with them. But definitely, strawberries are the number one dirtiest, then spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and, peppers. Those are all the best to buy organic.

[Janine] The Dirty Dozen or whatever it’s called.

[Nicole] Baker’s dozen or so if you or a family member is having any symptoms that show diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, or poor appetite, bloating, or feeling full, itchy rash, growth delay in children. Those can all be signs of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and I can remember hearing back when celiac was just starting to be talked about and thinking to myself. Oh my goodness how can these folks survive like this? They have to cut so much out of their diet and that’s just it’s crazy. Here I am X amount of years later and I’m like oh it’s not so bad. You can eat so much healthier and really have such a positive effect. I think I’m fueling my body.

I know that my kiddos have gluten sensitivity. They’re definitely they’re not celiac but I think they have an intolerance to certain things. Well, they’ll get belly aches if they’ll eat a certain pizza and pasta. So we’ve tried to try to cut back a bit and just be cognizant but they are kids and we have to make our own choices, which is it’s hard. So when you think about it, humans have been eating wheat and gluten in it for like 10,000 years, gluten is also found in rye and barley. So a gluten free diet contains neither of these grains nor wheat. I think gluten sensitivity is definitely an under-recognized health threat. I think we’re starting to see more and more like Janine was talking about, that connection with the microbiome in the gut health. It can affect the little hairs that are inside our intestine and it can cause inflammation, and the problem is when you eat gluten. If you have an autoimmune condition and your immune system is already compromised, it’s like your body sends in the troops to combat that gluten. They’re like, oh there’s gluten we’re sending in the troops and they’re fighting that gluten and it causes that inflammation.

[Janine] I don’t know as much about issues with gluten as you do. But I remember I was reading about a chef who has a gluten sensitivity, but when she travels overseas it doesn’t bother her. And I find it really interesting. What I’m wondering about, I know we treat wheat with chemicals that allowed in other parts of the world I’m curious to know if has to do with how we grow it and sure and then the chemicals that are on it and if that’s why it’s become more of a problem in this country specifically.

[Nicole] Absolutely. And I think we’ve gotten away from heirloom seeds the way that they were grown back when our grandparents and great grandparents were alive. They’re different now, they’re modified and it’s really hard, I think for farmers, so we’re seeing a change with how it’s grown.

[Janine] Well I imagine too, because again I’m not a farmer, but I think there’s not a ton of money in farming and it must be very difficult to make a living. Trying to find a way to maximize your crops and there’s a lot of things that go into it. So there’s definitely a lot of reasons why we’ve become what we’ve become in terms of our food system.

[Nicole] Yes. Because they want it faster and they want a larger yield for their crop. And you know they want to prevent insect attacks and rot. So they come up with all these scientific things, which I think have good intention but it’s not how it all played out. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of us suffering which is a bummer.  When you think about gluten we think about right off the bat you think about bread, pasta, noodles, cereal. But there’s actually hidden gluten that you don’t think about in soup, sauces, gravy, salad dressing, snack foods. even frozen vegetables.

It’s true. And because nearly a third of the foods found in American supermarkets contain some component of wheat. So it’s usually gluten or starch or both. Our diet has certainly changed over the last century, but our bodies haven’t and our ability to process the foods haven’t changed. So we really have to consider a lot of the wheat is milled into white flour, which is loaded with gluten but lacking in vitamins and nutrients. That can cause an increase in blood sugar leading to diabetes and other chronic illnesses. So it’s not just those of us with gluten sensitivity, it can really affect everyone. It’s crazy right.

[Janine] Diabetes is such a problem.  In the next 10 years that 50 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese. And the number of kids who are obese is sky high. Overweight kids. It’s crazy. It’s like we’re killing ourselves.

[Nicole] Well, look at like what’s on the menu for lunches at schools.

[Janine] I know it’s terrible. There’s no nutrition in it. I know some schools are trying to do better, but that’s is a subject for another podcast too. Of course, they can give healthy food to the kids but they can’t make them eat it.

That question of gluten and gluten sensitivity. You see it everywhere. And I think a lot of people do want to start eating better. But then, of course, you have the big issue of cost. I wonder if your husband rolled his eyes when you told him about the change because he was thinking of dollar signs.

So when we’re thinking about this show, we want to tell you ways you and do it without spending a million bucks. I mean the big joke is that Whole Foods is called whole paycheck. But I do think there are a lot of ways that you can do more economically. We talked about the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables. If you only buy those organic then and buy everything else conventional, that will make things more reasonable. Also buying seasonally, look at how much strawberries costs now, I don’t know six bucks. Why would you even want them? They don’t taste right. You know there’s no flavor.  And of course, eating locally. I mean we’re lucky because we live in an area with a lot of farms and not everybody has access to that. But farmer’s markets are springing up everywhere in every city. So if you have the opportunity to buy locally from the farmer and talk to the people growing your food it’s much more economical than just buying stuff at the supermarket.

[Nicole] I think you can get reasonable prices with local farmers and it might not be organic necessarily but it’s certainly healthier to buy something local than buying something that was shipped to you from Spain and washed in some bath of preservative of chlorine or whatever.

[Janine] Right. I don’t know about you Nicole, but I’ve signed up for a CSA, which is a community sustained agricultural share at a farm. I pay the farmer beforehand, before the season started, I’m sure people have heard about this, and you get a certain share every week or every two weeks of whatever they grow. Sometimes you get to pick, which I find to be much better because I’ve been in a CSA where I get a lot of turnips and I’m not a turnip fan. Nothing against turnips. But that’s a way to save money too because that is very economical. But again you’re right they’re not always organic.

[Nicole] So you have to weigh that when you decide, or you have like 12 years of corn that you get every week. You’re like, how can I eat this much corn. Ever in history of ever.

[Janine] You can shop online for items that are expensive at thrive.com or some other online alternative to Whole Foods. Go to Trader Joe’s which really seems to have better prices although we don’t have one that close to us. Also, make sure buy stuff you like rather than buying something just because it’s healthy. So back when everybody was eating kale, I was like oh I need to eat kale. It Turns out I hate kale. I need to get a T-shirt, I hate kale. I tried to eat it 20 different ways. Even make those kale chips.

[Nicole] Those are terrible. My friend Tracy used to try to make me eat those just like they’re so delicious. My kids love them and they taste like potato chips.  I’m like they do not taste like potato chips. Put kale in a smoothie. You can sneak it in that way.

[Janine] Yeah maybe I will. But probably not. But my point is it’s now a kale smoothie you won’t even know it. Probably not. You buy this stuff and then it rots. So is the problem So you know the most expensive food you eat the food that you don’t eat. So the kale goes. Goodbye. That’s all I’m trying to say. Plus food waste in this country is such a huge problem and it’s something that I started working on about a year ago. I really tried to address the problem in my home and I don’t know.

I read that a family of four throws away about eighteen hundred dollars in food every single year. Think about how much that is, that’s insane. That is it is crazy. It’s not just families, it’s restaurants and supermarkets, but consumers waste the most, 40 percent of all food waste comes from households. Wow. Yeah I mean think about that. You think about how many people are in need and need that food. And we just buy it and throw it away. Plus besides costing a lot, it’s terrible for the environment, because it rots and that causes the greenhouse gases to go up into the sky.  I think it’s unless it’s fruits or vegetables something that you can compost, but you can’t compost meat.

[Nicole] No we can’t compost that.

[Janine] Right. Right right. And realistically how many people compost. Probably. I mean some. But unless you have a service or something, remember we had a Pam from Greenily on and you talked about a composting service. I mean that’s ideal. They throw everything in a container and the service comes and takes it away takes it.

[Nicole] I think meal planning is a big way to get around waste. Right. If you know, this is what I’m buying because these are the actual meals I’m going to make per day and you don’t give the kids an option. Because that’s another piece to it’s hard. I know it’s hard. The kids look at stuff that I made and they’re like, you know I’m not eating that. It’s like fish with onions and carrots and avocado on top of it. So good. and they’re like I’m not even trying it. To get the whole family to eat the same thing, it’s tricky. Go have an apple, go make a peanut butter jelly sandwich.

[Janine] I agree with you. You have to make a plan go through your cabinets before you go to the supermarket because  sometimes you come home and you realize you have 10 cans of beans, and you’re like, oh man. Shop your cabinets. Shelly from taming frenzy said that to us. Remember she said check the cabinets first and then of course buy bulk when it’s appropriate. Of course, if you go to one of the big box stores and buy a giant bag of something and then it goes bad, you’re better off just buying a smaller and spending so you’re going to use.

[Nicole] And there are a lot of organic options now at the big box stores too which is kind of cool.

[Janine] So yeah. Yeah. That’s great. That’s true. I also buy frozen food, but now I don’t know because the hidden gluten, but if you’re not worrying about gluten so much then it’s OK. Eater frozen vegetables, because I’ve read that frozen is sometimes more nutritious than fresh depending on where it comes from. If you’ve had something that’s been hanging around for a long time compared with the freezing process, they freeze it almost immediately. A flash freeze, so it’s actually more nutritious.I also found a website called Imperfect Produce that saves the ugly produce farmers throw away because they can’t sell it. They think consumers won’t buy it because it looks funny and just goes to waste. So this company is selling that produce it’s not all organic though it’s a mix, but it’s a nice way to think about it because it tastes the same. If we can kind of get over what we think food is supposed to look like and traveling helps you do that too because you’re exposed to a lot of different things that you’d never think that you’d eat but you’re more open to it. And I think the bottom line is you’re going to focus on one thing it’s buying organic things that are the most toxic that the most pesticides and stuff. I think that’s probably super useful.

[Nicole] Absolutely. And I think to trying to buy as much fresh. I have friends, they’ll go on a daily shopping trip to the to the store and they’re like oh I’m going to buy, what I’m making for dinner tonight. So then there’s no question what you’re making and you’re going to eat it and you’ll have leftovers the next day and there’s no food waste. Yeah, I couldn’t do that. That would drive me bananas. I mean I do a once a week shop.

[Janine] Well when I lived in England back way back a long time ago in the early 90s, most flats had tiny refrigerators tiny. A little bit bigger than dorm-size, but not much because it really just fit a small amount. But every neighborhood had a little green grocer, a butcher, a bakery. And I would be surprised if that’s still the case, but I think people did buy day to day. You wouldn’t plan it for a week. So there was no chance that you’d end up throwing the food away you just make what you what you need that night.

[Nicole] Absolutely and I think now to we hear more people talking about their insta-pots and crock pot recipes. Things you can buy things and make a big batch of something, but then you can freeze it, or if you’re making soups,  or extend it and try to get as much bang for your buck. You know there’s definitely so many Pinterest sites and Facebook groups and places that you can go to find ideas for recipes and inspiration to get you don’t necessarily have to do a 30 day elimination diet right. You can just opt to maybe remove something from your diet that you know is not great for your health.

I have a girlfriend and she’s going on, I think, three months of not drinking soda. And she was addicted. You know she would walk past the vending machine everyday at work and she would get a can and she would drink it, and she said it’s been one of the most difficult things she’s ever done because she craves it every time she walks past the machine, she craves it. I was like, keep going. You’ve been doing it for three months. Don’t quit now. Drink water if you don’t like the taste of water throw something in it. So throw some lemon or fruit or something to help drink it,  fill your mouth with something other than the soda.

[Janine] Was she drinking diet soda or it was a diet. That’s supposed to be the worst though. It’s like the artificial sweetener tricks your brain  to really craving sweets. It’s an addiction. Yeah, it’s a funny thing how it does that. You think you’d want less sweets, but I guess it does something that makes you crave sweets more.

[Nicole] So there’s no coincidence that cocaine was like one of the ingredients that was in a popular soda way back when.

[Janine] Way back when. Imagine that marketing campaign now. Yeah right. Although I think cocaine was used in a medicine back then too. Crazy, but I guess the bottom line is the best way to control what you eat, have  a healthy diet and save money is to cook on your own. Nobody wants to hear that because we’re all super busy and running around, but it doesn’t have to be a French gourmet meal.

[Nicole] You can don chicken vegetable I will share that I did one of those meal boxes where you sign up and it gets delivered once every two weeks. Iit has enough in there to make two meals or for whatever, and some of those meals were way out of our comfort zone.  There were some crazy Thai dish or something that was from Spain that we would have never in a million years ordered at a restaurant or ever tried to cook at home. But it was so simple with the ingredients we got the kids involved it was healthy fresh foods and it was fun. It mixed up the routine. I love that you can cancel it at any time. So if you wanted to try it see because they give you a break out of the costs, three dollars and fifty two cents per meal or something like that. It’s portion controlled which I love. So they’re only giving you the amount that you need and it’s there’s no waste which I like.

[Janine] Yeah. No, we’ve tried that too but we didn’t stick with it either. I I didn’t feel like the value was that great. The quality was good, but I felt like the value wasn’t that great. Also, I was unhappy with the packaging, but more recently where the packaging was much more environmentally friendly. The company that I first tried it was all in plastic bags. It was a giant pile of trash after. Yeah, I liked it, and I agree it was fun and it was different and they give you that big selection. So that’s an option too if that’s something that you can fit into your budget and want to try and motivate you to cook. The easy way to cook it. It’s probably a step down from ordering out like it’s the next step or something.

[Nicole] We hope you enjoy this episode of the messy middle road trip podcast. It feels vital to remember that every time you eat you have an opportunity to nourish your body if you like what we’re doing. Please show us some love and go give us a rating or review I Tunes we’d really appreciate it. Thank you.